Finally, Legislators Tackle Vikings Stadium Bill

By Courtney King, NewsRadio 830 WCCO and Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The long-awaited Minnesota Vikings Stadium Bill was officially introduced at the state legislature Monday.

Lester Bagley, vice president of public affairs for the Vikings, said he likes the bill.

“It’s an opportunity to put a deal together that’ll work, solve the issue and secure the team,” he said.

WCCO’s Dave Lee Interviews Lester Bagley

Bagley said it helps having support from DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, Republican Sen. Julie Rosen, GOP Rep. Morrie Lanning and a bi-partisan group of legislators.

“There’s a good group of folks behind it. We do have a couple of concerns with the bill, but for the most part it’s a good framework,” Bagley said.

According to Bagley, the bill lays out what the team will be required to do, it allows a local partner to step up with a plan of financial support and a site, and specifies what the state will be asked to do.

“There’s plenty of time left in the session to dig into it and work on the bill and fix it where it needs to be fixed,” he said.

The plan would raise up to $300 million in state funds in different ways, such as the Vikings lottery game, and taxes on memorabilia, luxury seats and player salaries.

“There has actually been two stadiums that have been helped and funded by lottery scratch-off games, one in Seattle and one in Baltimore,” Bagley said.

Last year, the team kicked off a Vikings scratch-off lottery game, and former Vikings defensive star John Randle was out advertising for it.

“In short of one year, lottery folks sold $13 million in lottery tickets. So the idea is to take a small piece of that,” Bagley said. “It’s Vikings-themed, it’s voluntary, and put it into the mix. It has been successful in the past and the league would definitely endorse that.”

  • Jon

    It’s big business. It will pass. They will find a way to not have the public be able to vote on the bill even though it will raise taxes. May as well just pass it now otherwise it will just cost more later.

  • Shame on You Republicans

    What a bunch of phony hypocritical republicans who keep saying over and over that we will not raise taxes and will protect the rich while throwing the middle class under the bus and saying but it’s ok to raise taxes on the middle class and poor people to fund and raise taxes for a vikings stadium helping the rich billionaires again but won’t raise a 2% tax on the rich. Talk about double standard. If you can raise taxes for a stadium then you can raise taxes for the rich. No taxes means no taxes! Vote them out NOW!!!!!

    • Enough

      I don’t want my taxes raised for a new stadium either, but the article does not say anything about taxes being raised. As I recall Governor Dayton wants the stadium to be built and that was one of his goals when he became governor, so if you Democrats will stop blaming the Republicans for this as last time I heard that the Democrats are backing the stadium too along with our Democratic governor, Mark Dayton!

    • Ron

      Isnt the Dem Govenor behind the bill? If you dont buy lottery tickets, but memorbila or spend anytime in luxury seats you are not paying for it. How is this bill raising taxes on the middle class and poor people?

    • Matt

      I’m a republican and I hate to say that I agree. As much as I would LOVE a new Vike’s stadium, I can’t support public money going toward it in any way. Just the same as I can’t support additional public funding going toward any other hair brain idea that the GOP or DFL have. (Light Rail)

  • Pencils Down Class

    I’m guessing that you people just need to sound off instead of actually reading the article. Let me summarize for the people who couldn’t stay on target: (I know, more reading right? Ugh…)

    “The plan would raise up to $300 million in state funds in different ways, such as the Vikings lottery game, and taxes on memorabilia, luxury seats and player salaries.”

    I don’t see anything in there about raising taxes. If you don’t want to pay for a new stadium, avoid the following:

    1) Buy Vikings Merchandise
    2) Buy a Vikings Scratch Off Lottery Ticket
    3) Buy a Luxury Suite at the New Stadium
    4) Stay in a Hotel/Motel in the area of the New Stadium
    5) Rent a Car in the County of the New Stadium
    6) and the easiest one, Don’t become a Professional Athelete who would use the New Stadium.

    Are these things too hard for you people to avoid?

    • Brian (Stop complaining

      Amen brother. Too many idiots on here worried about their tax money. Just shut up about it already, read the article. lol.

    • Ginger Shepla

      PDC – Perhaps you should re-read the article..ugh. You must have missed the part that said: According to Bagley, the bill lays out what the team will be required to do, it allows a local partner to step up with a plan of financial support and a site, and specifies what the state will be asked to do.

    • Trev

      Pencils, the proposal is to raise the general sales tax to a percentage. So, anything one purchases (excluding food, clothes) will be subject to the tax. The exact same scenario for those of us in Henn Cty paying for the Twins Stadium.

    • Lower Middle Class man

      That is where they HOPE to Get 300 Million – Where do you think the other money will come from. If you think they are going to get a new Stadium built without any tax money of the general public you are a fool!!!!

      • Ron

        The reason you are lower middle class is that you cant read a full article. Please re-read and get back to us. Wow!

    • Matt

      Your missing the point, the government at all levels needs to get out of private affairs.

      When you read the article did you see the part about this being a publicly owned stadium? That’s what I have a problem with. The government should have no business in publicly owning anything that’s used by a private corporation. Just the same as it shouldn’t have a roll in a number of other areas that that they have their hands in like light rail, health insurance for single healthy adults and public radio. Get the government out of public matters.

      Now, I do agree that the method in which they are funding this is about as good as anyone could dream up and it doesn’t even come close to the idiotic ideas of the left to raise taxes on the rich to fix a spending problems, but it’s still TO MUCH GOVERNMENT.


        What you seem to be missing with a lot of other people here is that this would not be owned by the Vikings. Just as it is now, they would use it only a handful of times through the year but would not own it. The Vikings do not own the Metrodome do they? Then why would they own a new stadium? This would be owned by the state just as the dome and they would use it to host more than just football games. So before you get your shorts in a bunch and keep ranting the tea bagger chant “down with big Gov” try looking past your own short sightedness and look at the big picture. The reason Gov would be involved is this would be a public building. Nowhere has it ever been stated that this would be the “Vikings stadium”, they are just asking for a new place to play.

        • Matt

          I just said it would be publicly owned, not owned by the Vikings however a VAST majority of the revenue generated at the dome is done during those handful of games.

          And to answer your question, my panties aren’t in a bunch, I don’t want more government because you might agree with building a new stadium, but what about another $1B on light rail? Where does it stop? Sometimes it’s hard to be consistent even if it’s something you personally would like.

  • No public vote, no public money

    The government needs to stay out of private enterprise! There is no question about it – your taxes will go up if there is a new stadium, absolutely they will.

    The only way to decide this issue fairly is to have all MN residents vote on it and allow the majority to decide. Sadly, the Vike’s owners and management, our prozac-laced governor, and our crooked politicians will do everything in their power to prevent the people voting on whether or not they want a “people’s stadium.”

  • John Sherman

    I wish the nay sayers would have the guts to write the legeslature if this what you want No Stadium and No Vikings then march in the streets and see what kink of response you will get do you have the courage? or just hide behind letters.

  • Jared Hehn

    I’m not sure if some of you realize that the vikings generate Over $220 million dollars each year. If they do not get a new stadium, Zygi will most likely move the team to a town that is willing to build them a new stadium. I would hope that you would be able to imagine the dent in our local economy that not having a professional team in our area could be. Just another point that I thought should be brought up.

    • Get rid of them

      Fine, let them go!

      • travis

        and where do we come up with that 220 million that we rely on from them currently?

        • Build it and they will come

          I would hope we could all agree that $220 million (which comes from forbes) is a heck of a lot of money. From an economic standpoint it is unnacceptable to let them go. It isn’t a good situation but clearly the stadium they are playing in now is outdated and needs to go.

  • Not So Silent Majority

    Why do the liberals always want to blame the GOP for everything? Does this article not say that the bill has support from DFL Governer Dayton and a bi-partisan group of legislators. I think this bill is a big step in both sides finally doing something together that makes sense. Also, while I would love for all sports teams to reduce salaries and fund their own stadiums, that has not been past practice for many cities and the reality is government is now forced to help or risk losing the teams. For all of you that answer go ahead and leave, remember this: The University of Minnesota published a report stating that during the course of one Vikings game weekend, overall sales output in the Twin Cities expanded by $9.1 million and 113 extra jobs were created to support the demand. Add the appeal of having professional sports in the area for businesses thinking of locating in MN and you have a no-brainer on the part of the legislature. Back off with your vocal minority banter. If you really had such good ideas, you would be running the state. Thank goodness you are not.

    If you provide a man a fish, you feed him for one day. If you teach a man to fish…..:)

    • liberal for stadium

      i think its the ultra conservatives who are against this… not many liberals. I agree with you… it sucks to pay, but it makes complete sense.


      Not So Silent Majority
      I fail to see where the “liberals” are playing the blame game. Looks to me as you are the only one talking about this. Not starting a fight but just trying to figure out where a “liberal” is blaming the GOP for anything. No need to start this conversation but someone has to every article that has a post on it. Can we please just have a conversation and not pull political affiliation in it when it does not need to be?
      Always got to be a GOPer that pulls this stuff (that was a joke).

      • Matt

        Fine converse… Why should we build it? it’s easy for you to jump around and poke fun at others, but you don’t seem to have much, wait… any argument why we should spend tax money on the stadium.

    • Twins FAN

      Ok, with that answer in mind, then they can afford to pay back the tax payers on LOANS. The GOP is asking for the attention by stating there are things we cannot afford. Like health insurance for all citizens. It was easier to support the Twins for many reasons. The most obvious is 81 home games vs 9! Also the MLB is way more family oriented in being more affordable and a safe place to take kids. Baseball players are more available to their fans and show appreciation when approached.
      The NFL will whine around this proposal and the state will cave into MANY concessions to land on the tax payers.
      GOP, if you want respect, be willing to accept the level of health care you are attempting to remove from others. And make eye contact with every individual as you tell them to buck up and gamble with their healthcare, oh but not YOURS!

  • Matt

    Don’t forget that the Vikings need Minnesota more than Minnesota needs the Vikings. Yes LA does loom in the distance, but Minneapolis/St Paul is a top 15 media market and every media market in the top 20 has a team (Except LA.) It would be stupid for the NFL to allow the Vikes to leave the state.

    Unfortunately the precedent has been set that local governments fund stadiums, but the only way to stop it is to stop the funding and let the teams run around like chickens with the heads cut off looking for a new stadium all over the US. If the Vikings don’t care about MN enough to fund a stadium let them go looking elsewhere. The NFL made $7.8B in 2010, they could carve our 12% of their income and invest in a new stadium every year for there teams.

    Furthermore, those who speak of the economic income attributed to a pro sports team, where does it end? Maybe we should build two stadiums and get a second team and double down on the profits? A NFL franchise doesn’t create anything to add value it’s moving money around on good/services that likely would already be purchased someplace else. It’s like saying that government stimulus creates jobs when all it’s doing is taking tax money out of the economy and putting it someplace else.

    I’d hold firm, less government, less spending and if the Vikings want to leave because of it… Enjoy

  • Noise = Courage

    So John Sherman thinks those who disagree with him should demonstrate their courage by tooting their horns, banging their drums, and marching in the streets. Gee, that would sure be a demonstration of intelligence, wouldn’t it? How ’bout we have a simple yes or no vote on the issue?

  • Matt Hugs Trees


    When the Vikings go looking, they won’t have to look long. If you would like to actually look into the economics of the Vikings rather than argue for more free handouts from the government, here are the facts. An average playoff game brings in over 27,000 visitors who would normally spend their money elsewhere. That’s an average of $5.8 million pumped into the metro economy spent on hospitality and transportation. More than 100 jobs exist because of it. All of these things are taxed and put to uses I’m sure you are more comfortable with. The Vikings are able to show how they benefit the state and therefore deserve some consideration when it comes to funding.

    Unfortunately welfare has gotten out of control in this state as well. Maybe we should cut that off and let those who drain our coffers run around the US looking for a sweeter deal instead? Bet they won’t find one. I bet the Vikes would.

    If you really are holding firm, than know this-Less government = Less welfare, less free health care, less subsidized eduation. Decide whch way you really want it Matt.

    PS Twins fan… The GOP members youare speaking to actually pay for their health care benefits, so they should accept what they pay for.

    You get what you pay for…:)

    • Matt

      I would love to use and explicit remark here, but I know it would get pulled down so pick your favorite and call your self that.

      Maybe next time read an argument before jumping to conclusions. I don’t want a public stadium because I don’t want public anything, I want the government to shrink to the point where they exist only in the background rather than the upfront stance they take in almost every issue today.

      In fact it’s the minority of Republicans like you that give everyone in the party a bad name, you only want those projects that you support to get public funding or preferential treatment, anything else should go fend for yourself.

      Not I, across the board I want it cut even if it benefits me more than any other person in the state. In my book that’s the only form of FAIR government, no or very little government.

      Furthermore, I don’t argue that there isn’t an economic benefit to having the Vikings in town, but have a business sponsor the stadium and make the money building hotels, bars and merchandise that benefit from it. In fact look at LA, that’s not a public stadium it’s a group of intelligent business people who see an opportunity and are going to capitalize from it when they eventually land a team.

      So may I suggest taking the time to read before criticizing and if you are going to call yourself a Republican grow a pair and say no to less government even if it’s something that you like or benefits you, because right now it’s a Vikings stadium, next time it will be another Guthrie…

      • Not So Silent Majority


        First off, I don’t associate myself with either political party. I tend to vote for the candidate that makes the most sense. (Know I wouldn’t vote for you) I did read your comment. You said it yourself, the precedent has been set. Your argument is that the buck stops here in Minnesota. I’m telling you that you couldn’t be more wrong. The public bucks flow freely here. Everyone has their hand out and the state loves to dish it. So why does it stop now with the Vikings? My point is they actually bring in revenue for the state and most others draining the coffers bring in nothing. I would love it too if the state gave away zero dollars to everyone, but like it or not, that won’t happen. You can’t have it both ways, so stop trying. Other governments are willing to back the Vikings if we are not. So, the option to sit back and watch the Vikings fund it themselves, or have some mystery business fund it for them is a fantasy. Either we help fund it through lottery, merchandise taxes and salary tax, or we start dumping our money into someone else’s economy when we drive 6 hours to see a football game.

        PS, I picked a name for myself… Mr. Sharp

        • Matt

          Mr. Sharp,
          I agree with what you are stating (Minnesota being an open checkbook state) but I definitely don’t want it both ways.

          I’m stating that I am sick of government picking up the tab for every project that comes their way, and if the Vikings leave because of it, even though I am a fan, then so be it. We are better of taking a stance against this issue and every other Guthrie, Light Rail, natural resources tax, million dollar Minneapolis fountains that come with it.

          • travis

            nobody wants the government to be a blank checkbook. But believe it or not, there are some projects that are extremely beneficial to a metro of nearly 4 million people. Transportation, arts, and entertainment being 3 of them. if you don’t want your tax dollars going toward any of these ventures, pick another city… omaha, des moines, quad cities… none of those have transportation, arts, or entertainment… and none of them are very interesting places… and none of them pump in tax dollars.

  • Not a Vikes Fan

    I’m just curious as to how the anti-stadium crowd would replace the millions of dollars of revenue that the Vikings bring into the retail, hospitality, tourism, restaurant, etc. aspects of the private sector and the lost revenues from income tax, sales tax, hotel taxes and other public revenues that help pay for government services.

    Would you okay an increase in your taxes or spend more money in the Twin Cities to make up for the loss to private business and public coffers, or are you only looking out for yourself and to heck with everyone else?

    Just asking.

    • TF

      How about with the tax money we are saving not building a stadium. If it’s such a smart investment why isn’t anyone willing to foot the bill?

  • Not So Silent Majority


    First, we are not saving tax money wihtout the bill. These are new programs designed to foot the stadium. Even if it were existing tax money, It is a smart investment for the state because of the revenue the Vikings generate in the area. That revenue is then taxed and helps out the local economy. The stadium itself may not be the revenue generator that a private investor is looking for. That is why.

    Matt, All I am try to say is that if we are going to hand out money to those who don’t deserve it, than we should do the same for those who have a benefit to our state. If you feel that strongly about no public money for the stadium, then I feel that you should also support cuts to welfare, health care and education. It should work both ways.

    • Even More Silent

      Also no tax breaks for businesses. They pay the full Monty. And you don’t get a deduction for your mortgage interest because that’s just welfare for homeowners.

      Sound OK, TF??

      • Ron

        Do you not realize the amount of taxes brought into a state even if the corporation pays nothing in taxes? Jobs, jobs, jobs: employees all pay income taxes, they all buy cars in MN, they all buy homes in MN, they all shop and pay sales tax in MN. The fact that a corporation legally pays no taxes or is lured into the state with tax breaks is only the tip of the iceberg. Look at the big picture and see what lies below the surface. Are we better off if 3M pays no taxes in MN or let them move to a state that has no state income tax?

  • Sheryl Aukes

    Are you kidding me? They can give $300,000,000 towards the stadium but they can’t keep the health care going for the elderly and disabled? The state don’t have money for that but they do for a stupid stadium. That is rediculious. Help the disabled and elderly. I would love to see them in a nursing home with all the cuts and see what kind of cares they get. They will be in a nursing home some day if we even have nursing homes then. The way they are making cuts who knows. Also the disabled need the help. They never asked to have disabilities. How many of them know how much care it takes to deal with someone with disablilities. I have a daughter with disabilities and 3 grandchildren with them and believe me its not easy.

    • Ron

      Read the article. The State of MN is not pulling funds for a new stadium. it is coming from patrons of the Vikings in the form of a vikings lottery, memorbila tax, and luxury seats.

  • Adam

    Why can’t people understand that by keeping the Vikings here we will generate revenue for the state. In the form of taxes paid and in money spent in the area of the stadium on food and hotels. In a few years we will be MAKING money….

  • Stadium = Neverending Expense

    Adam, why can’t you understand that if a stadium made money, Wilf & company would have already built one. The stadium is the losing half of the Vikings – which is why they want the taxpayers to build it. This isn’t rocket science.

    • travis

      wilf won’t pay completely for a new stadium because he will not completely own the stadium. Minnesota would. Minnesota would be pumping in money… not just Wilf. There are 8 sundays where the dome will “be” Wilf’s. There are 357 other days that the state and whichever local government can do whatever they want with it to generate money for the state and the area. Wilf, paying 300 million, is paying his share.


    i would love to watch a vikings game in a new stadium hopefully get some comfortable seats i would like to pay more for entertainment GET R DONE!!!!!!!!!

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